Festivities and Entertainment at Court 

Festivities and entertainments at Court

Practical information :

Africa and Crimea rooms.

29 November 2016 - 26 March 2017
Open every day except on Monday, on 25 December and January 1st , to 9.00 am to 05.30 pm (last entry at 04.45 pm

The Palace of Versailles presents an exhibition showing the infinite variety and ingenuity of entertainment provided at Court, making Versailles a venue for ever more monumental, extraordinary and fantastical festivities and shows. Covering three reigns, from Louis XIV to the French Revolution, the exhibition does not aim to be exhaustive, but focuses on the courtier’s point of view.

Louis XIV understood very early on the political and social role of this entertainment which contributed to the monarchy’s prestige. And indeed, this dizzying staging of celebrations, which gave the impression of a world enclosed in a never-ending party, had to be real: in order to measure up and even stand out and shine before the King, we see how much individual effort courtiers had to make, what fortune was required to maintain their rank, what networks they had to create to be seen to advantage in these great performance machines, how much self-control to endure the daily duty of being noticed, of being compared with others and the constant challenge of competition.

As visitors move through the exhibition, they are invited to discover and experience what the courtier felt, saw, heard and did – from physical recreation riding in the hunt, the visual and auditory pleasures of the stage, anxiety at the gaming tables or at the formal balls, to the pleasure of the night-time light displays. Several immersive scenes are scattered along the way – sound showers, screens, 3D restitutions, life-size constructions of theatrical machines, etc. – to breathe life into the performance venues, to recreate the atmosphere of evenings at Court and draw visitors in to the heart of the festivities.